Saturday, December 3, 2011

Troubling Signs

Although it has been clear for some time that tomorrow's parliamentary elections in Russia are a managed affair, pressure on the well-regarded local observation organization Golos suggests that the quality of management may be of concern to United Russia. Prime Minister Putin was subjected to boos at a recent public event, and his reception by MMA fans was inexpertly spun by the administration. Reports also indicate that support for the party of power is sagging.

When elections are manufactured well ahead of election day, activities in polling stations are generally orderly and may not provide evidence of egregious fraud. But, officials have incentives to use different techniques on election day if uncertainty is higher. Pressure on Golos is worth noting as it may suggest heightened potential for shenanigans on the ground tomorrow.

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